Friday, October 15, 2010

Is this "the most left-wing government since the war?"

Simon Jenkins has been infuriating the left with an article in the Guardian which you can read here, suggesting that

"The coalition is fast becoming the most leftwing British government since the war. It has clobbered the middle classes on child benefit. On Tuesday it accepted advice to impose a swingeing loan repayment regime on rich graduates. Today it said it would wipe billions in tax relief from private pension plans. This is from a government that is the first to stand by a top-rate tax rise, to 50%, since the Labour government of 1974. Nothing is sacred. Rightwing this is not."

I don't go all the way with this argument. The coalition has also axed 200 quangos, cancelled Labour's jobs tax, and capped the benefits available to families where nobody has a health or disability problem at the income level they could earn while working at an average wage. The examples in Jenkin's article, those quoted above and others in the body of the article, were clearly selectively chosen to make a point.

And perhaps they would have been more effective in making the point that the measures this government has had to take to clear up Labour's catastrophic financial legacy have hit the middle and the rich as well as the poor. We really are "all in this together."

Nevertheless Simon Jenkins is right to highlight the irony that the loudest screams from the Labour party and the left have been when the coalition has done things which predominantly hit those on middle or higher incomes.

7 comments:

Tim said...

"And perhaps they would have been more effective in making the point that the measures this government has had to take to clear up Labour's catastrophic financial legacy have hit the middle and the rich as well as the poor. We really are "all in this together.""

We clearly are NOT all in this together. This is fast becoming one of the most pernicious lies ever told. The banksters who caused all this mayhem have their snouts back in the trough and it's business as usual.

You, I believe have a job, I don't, our circumstances are different, we are not all in this together.

Chris Whiteside said...

Tim, if you imagine that people who have managed to hang on to their jobs - and that is not a criticism of those who have been less fortunate still - have not suffered from the catastrophic damage to the economy over the past few years, you are completely and utterly wrong.

Tim said...

How have you suffered ?

Chris Whiteside said...

Like most BT employees and a great many other people in the private sector, my real income has fallen dramatically over the past few years.

A major part of the drop in my income, in both real and money terms, is due to the circumstances of the telecomms industry rather than the recession in general - all Concert employees who escaped redundancy took a 16% pay cut, for instance. However the recession has added significantly to those difficulties as BT, like many other companies forced to economise or die, has had to either freeze pay or offer salary rises well below the rate of inflation.

Tim said...

So your difficulties seem to lie more with the evils of outsourcing rather than the activities of the shyster banksters.

Anonymous said...

I think most pensioners who have worked hard and saved for their retirement will be suffering more than you Chris. Interest rates are being held artificially low to once again support those that got us in to this mess.

Chris Whiteside said...

I referred to my position only because I was specifically asked about it by Tim. I have made very clear that plenty of other people, such as those who lost their jobs and many pensioners, are suffering even more. I have been severely critical of the despicable way pensioners were treated by the last government.

But the fact remains that almost everyone in Britain has suffered from this recession.